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At UN, EU Seeks Status Higher than African Union, Arrogance Charged, Ban Notes

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 12 -- On the eve of the UN's and China's meeting with regional organizations, a power play by the European Union drew fire from the EU's African counterpart. Inner City Press has been informed by multiple sources that the reconfigured EU is seeking special status at the UN, equal to the Vatican and Palestinian Authority, higher than the African Union. But why?

The Vatican or Holy See is not only an Observer at the UN General Assembly -- it can also participate in debates, and even co-sponsor resolutions that touch on its areas of expertise. It won this right by a GA resolution, adopted by acclamation and not a vote. (The GA President at the time didn't want to "put the Pope to a vote," as he put it.)

  The African Union does not have this Papal status. But now comes the EU, wanting to leapfrog the AU and gain the right to participate and sponsor resolutions.

UN's Ban and Migiro and AU's Jean Ping, EU power play not shown

A source in the Executive Office of the Secretary General told Inner City Press this is "very sensitive." The EOSG, he said, has drafted a document on the EU's power play, merely "taking note" of it, the same non-committal stance that was the only consensus reached in Denmark on the Copenhagen Accord on climate change.

On July 13, the Security Council under its Chinese presidency will hold a meeting with regional organizations. Under the surface, the EU's diss of the AU and all the issues that brings up with fester. Watch this site.

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At UN, Ban Says Holbrooke's Public Blog Talk of de Mistura Is Not Proper, But Unlike Galbraith, Jurisdiction Questioned

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 12 -- Two weeks ago, Inner City Press reported that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would name as his envoy to Afghanistan Staffan de Mistura, who hired Mr. Ban's son in law in Iraq. A week ago, Inner City Press asked Mr. Ban about it. Ban replied that the choice is his "prerogative."

  Last Friday, U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke told Foreign Policy's The Cable that de Mistura told him he has been offered the post.

    With the cat entirely out of the bag, Inner City Press on January 11 asked Mr. Ban, in his first stakeout interview in the UN's new North Lawn Conference Building, "Richard Holbrooke is being quoted as saying that you have offered the top UN post in Kabul to Staffan de Mistura. I wonder, is he right in saying that?" Video here, from Minute 15:18.

  The premise of the question was, while Ban's talking points last week involved questioning why the New York Times would chime on on his prerogative, it would be more difficult to say Holbrooke was wrong.

  But Ban's answer was almost identical, that "I don't think it is proper to discuss detailed matters on appointment procedures publicly." But it seems clear that Ban has offered the job to de Mistura, who in turn told Holbrooke -- to nail the job down, some say -- and Holbrooke intentionally went public.

  When Ban says this is not "proper," does he mean that de Mistura should not have told Holbrooke that he's been offered the job? Since, as Inner City Press exclusively reported, Ban's choice as Darfur envoy of Ibrahim Gambari leaked because Gambari asked some UN staff to sign up to work for him in El Fasher, Ban could have told de Mistura to keep it under raps.

  Or, as his comments seem to point, is Ban calling Holbrooke's public statement to The Cable improper? Previously, Ban fired Peter Galbraith, whom Holbrooke has pushed for the UN's deputy post in Kabul, for going public with his critic of Kai Eide covering up Hamid Karzai electoral fraud.

  Ban can and does crack down on UN staff for speaking publicly or blowing the whistle. One wonders if Ban's implicit rebuke of Holbrooke leaves any mark at all. Ultimately, it traces back to de Mistura. But he has ingratiated himself with Ban's Turtle Bay. Between now and the conference on Afghanistan in London on January 28, what could go wrong? Watch this site.

Holbrooke lets it all hang out, Ban's critique not shown

  From the UN's January 11 transcript:

Inner City Press: On Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke is being quoted as saying that you have offered the top UN post in Kabul to Staffan de Mistura. I wonder, is he right in saying that?

SG: First of all, this appointment of a new Special Representative of the Secretary-General is still under consideration. Of course, I don't think it is proper to discuss detailed matters on appointment procedures publicly, but as soon as the decision is made I will let you know. I have been discussing this matter with President [Hamid] Karzai and other concerned major parties who could be the best candidate who can really work together with all major parties to have a very harmonious and coordinated role as SRSG of the United Nations.

   As we've noted, just as Hamid Karzai vetoed Paddy Ashdown for the post, he may try the same with de Mistura, even more so after Holbrooke's staged endorsement.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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